Elsie Nyamao: Principal hid my admission letter, took away my destiny

Elsie Nyamao. She managed to scoop a B (Plain), qualifying for direct university entry. However, the school's newly-appointed principal proved sadist, and is alleged to have seized and hid the student's calling letter from Egerton University. PHOTO/Courtesy.
Elsie Nyamao. She managed to scoop a B (Plain), qualifying for direct university entry. However, the school's newly-appointed principal proved sadist, and is alleged to have seized and hid the student's calling letter from Egerton University. PHOTO/Courtesy.
  • The antagonism between her and the then-Deputy Principal started in form three.
  • She was among the school’s top students academically.
  • Deputy Principal was behind her being suspended severally and punished without reason.
  • She is alleged to have hidden the student’s university calling letter.

At first glance, her visage flashes a spark of joy. 

She oozes great potential, intelligence and ambition, but deep down in her heart sits frustration and a pinch of betrayal. For Elsie Nyamao, 35, it’s a whole destiny unfairly snatched from her.

She recalls how it all started; a high school slip-up that led to a lifetime rue. Her name didn’t appear on the list as fellow students were being sent home for school fees. 

Despite her school fees being paid in full, Nyamao was short on pocket money and basic necessities. She had to find a way on how she could get home to have that sorted.  

“So, I asked a friend to lend me her leave out chit so that I could go home and collect the necessities,” Nyamao says, in a vivid recollection.

Deal gone sour

When she returned from home, it dawned on her that the school administration was aware of her mischief. She got suspended for a week and told to return with her parents.

“By the time I was coming back, my classmates were doing the form 3 final exams. I had already missed two papers; English and Mathematics. I, however, still continued doing the remaining exams,” she says.

The mathematics teacher cut her some slack and gave her the paper she had missed. 

Even without one paper in the overall results, she still managed to scoop the highest marks in her class, a performance that didn’t sit very well with the Deputy Principal.

“She got irritated every time she saw my stunning performance. I remember being beaten for no apparent reason. I was dragged into most mistakes that I never even participated in. She seemed to find joy in caning me,” Nyamao recalls.

She calls to mind one time the high-performing students were being awarded. 

She was among the top students, but instead of being given the badges of honour, she was requested to go get them from the office of the Deputy Principal, which she didn’t.

The defiance earned her yet another suspension, and she was told to open school two weeks after the rest of the students had resumed. 

The frustrations seemed to escalate higher and other teachers began noticing the dirt in the situation.

Principal’s intervention

The Principal also noticed the unfair treatment. Nyamao was the Principal’s favourite due to her great performance. 

But the same couldn’t be said about the Deputy Principal. To the Deputy Principal, Nyamao’s performance gave her a reason to loathe and frustrate her.

By the time Nyamao was getting to form 4, the Principal had realized the beef that was going on in her oblivion. She took the initiative to protect her from the claws of the Deputy Principal.

“She guided and advised me just so I could not lose hope. She was more like a mother to me in the midst of all the drama,” Nyamao notes of the Principal.

Things took a turn when the Principal was transferred and the Deputy Principal was promoted to the top seat. This, Nyamao recollects, was the bleakest plot twist in her life.

“I did my KCSE in 2004 and by the time I was going for my certificates and University invitation letter, I found that the Deputy Principal was now the Principal,” she says.

Shuttered dreams

She managed to get the certificates but never received the university invitation letter. 

Sadly, even after Nyamao made qualified to join campus through JAB direct entry, the newly-appointed Principal then is alleged to have chosen to snatch away her destiny due to continued friction between the two. PHOTO/Courtesy.

Every time she paid a visit to inquire about the invitation letters, she was met with a grouch and painful lectures that still linger in her mind whenever she manoeuvres that memory lane.

Her dream of pursuing nursing was slam-shut in her face. 

She couldn’t afford to join the university the parallel route; her only hope was through the invitation letter from the Joint Admission Board of Kenya (JAB), a body that was mandated to conduct a joint admission exercise of students who have cleared secondary school into the Universities.

JAB has since been replaced by the Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service (KUCCPS).

She finally threw in the towel and decided to join Kenya Medical Training College (KMTC) Nairobi Campus to pursue a Diploma in Medical Lab. 

Her performance still remained high. She managed to be top 5 countrywide by the time she graduated in 2009.

Academic level, a major drawback

“I have just been doing contracts here and there to try to earn a living. But I can’t say I have had a really stable job. It has been a struggle to get a sustainable job from the Diploma. 

Most job opportunities I encounter require someone with at least a degree, yet I don’t have that. The unfair part is, I possess all the skills required; just the academic qualification is what throws me out of the opportunities,” she laments.

The 35-year-old recalls moments when she has had to appear for interviews, smashes the interview questions, and performs the clinical practicals splendidly, but then her Diploma in Medical Lab becomes the only impediment.

Nyamao holds onto great hope to return to school and pursue a degree just so she can be on the safer end. 

Though she has a diploma in lab science from KMTC, most of the jobs she qualifies for also require her to have a degree. PHOTO/Courtesy.
Though she has a Diploma in Medical Lab from KMTC, most of the jobs she qualifies for also require her to have a degree. PHOTO/Courtesy.

But between her and success stands a financial obstacle and a past that incessantly haunts her.

KUCCPS flashes an opportunity

Things were tough until in 2021, when KUCCPS announced that they are giving a chance for students who had sat for KCSE between 2000-2020.

“I was so happy that I could now redeem myself and go to university,” she says, flashing a grin.

She took the leap of faith and applied. 

But after typing in all her credentials, the system recognized her information and denied her entry claiming she had already been placed at a university before.

“I got a bit confused, so I reached out to a friend and asked her to apply for the opportunity. Mysteriously, her application went through without any hustle. So, I asked her to try applying using my information from her end. I thought maybe the problem could be my computer,” explains Nyamao.

Still, the application didn’t go through.

That is when she felt the enemy Principal might have short-changed her. 

She went to KUCCPS offices to inquire where the problem could be because she couldn’t remember getting any varsity invitation letter. 

At KUCCPS, Nyamao was told that her name was already in the system as among the students already placed in university. The details showed that she was placed at Egerton University.

Nyamao called a friend in Molo and requested her to help her follow up from the varsity. The friend inquired and was promised to be notified in case they found the files.

Long wait

“The more I waited, the more I got frustrated. I deep down understood that retrieving files from that long time was going to take time, but I still held onto hope,” Nyamao asserts.

The feedback finally came through in February 2023 after a hustle and bustle. The letter showed that she was accepted to Egerton University to pursue a Bachelor of Arts. 

A file copy of Egerton University’s calling letter for Elsie Nyamao. PHOTO/Courtesy.

Unfortunately, she couldn’t pursue the degree because it had surpassed its validity period of 8 years. That, for her, was the last nail in the coffin.

Daunting epiphany

At this time, it came to her realization that the high school nightmare Deputy Principal who was promoted to Principal was the one behind all this chaos.

“I realized that the Principal was the one who had seized the invitation letter. Other students got their invitation letters apart from me. The hatred she had towards me could be her reason for hiding the letter,” she says.

In retrospect, Nyamao affirms that she could have been at a higher level, both academically and careerwise, were it not for the ordeals she encountered with the Principal.

“Every time I look back at the events, I find myself breaking down because I can’t seem to find a way out of this situation. I wish KUCCPS could at least follow up and give me a second chance because I have the potential and zeal to continue with my studies,” she says.

However much Nyamao tries to bury the past, the hindrances she encounters in her career due to her academic qualifications draw her back.

She has tried all means to help her cope with the situation, from pushing the needle forward careerwise to even going for counselling. 

She confirms that she has had those sleepless nights where the past visits and slaps her hard in the face. 

The only escape route whenever that happens is just to soak her pillow in tears.

It speaks to all ears of why nobody should ever make drastic decisions which have permanent repercussions simply because of a petty mistake from a youngster or anyone else. The pain lurks searingly.

Nyamao’s only hope now is that she’ll one-day step foot in the university and upgrade her studies. 

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: How Dr. Chipato conquered sabotage to join medical school

She aspires to be the best in what she does—clinical lab—and hopes that either KUCCPS or a well-wisher will be moved to help her get to the next level.

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Mr. Ogonji is a highly professional and talented science journalist with a solid experience in covering compelling stories in matters Environment, Climate Change, Health, Tech and Education. Contact: theogonji@gmail.com


  1. A really moving story. It’s sad that a professional could turn into a demon. Nyamao did not deserve the harsh treatment. Teachers should always remain guardian angels unlike a few who are dream killers. May favor locate Nyamao.


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